Smokers turning off potential buyers

04 February 2004
Nicotine-stained paintwork and the smell of stale cigarette smoke is the biggest turn off for potential homebuyers, a new survey claims.

Around 28 per cent of people said they would be completely put off buying a property if the current occupant smoked and nearly three-quarters of those questioned said they would not pay the full asking price for the home of a smoker.

More than half (59 per cent) of those questioned said they would offer up to ten per cent less than the asking price.

The research, carried out by ICM on behalf of Woolwich, suggests that smokers could be losing an average of £16,000 on the sale price of their home.

One in five people also said they would be put off buying a property if it smelled of animals or if their was fur on the furnishings, while stone cladding was a turn-off for 11 per cent and a dirty fridge or oven would put off ten per cent of people.

About seven per cent of the 1,010 people questioned would not want a property with 70s-style artex ceilings, five per cent would be turned off by an avocado bathroom suite and swirly patterned carpets would put off four per cent of buyers.

Andy Gray, head of mortgages at the Woolwich, said: "The total amount that sellers in the UK may be losing out on is as much as £3 billion, money which could be gained if the seller carried out some basic DIY to ensure the shrewd buyer isn't turned off by their home."